Step 1: Set a goal and don't be afraid of the journey or the length of time it takes to reach the goal
Step 2: Be prepared for the hard work, recognize/acknowledge your strengths and weakneses and accept the temporary sacrifices
Step 3: Believe in yourself. Do not give up!
Step 4: Celebrate your achievement
Step 5: Reflect
Step 6: Repeat (with a new goal)
I believe there is a big difference in wanting something and working hard for something. I saw a quote the other day that spoke very loud to me.
"When the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, it may be that they take better care of it there."
I think this quote relates very easily to those seeking body composition changes or performance gains but to me, I take away something different from this quote. It's easy to want something really bad in life because it looks so great when someone else has it. But it isn't until you start working hard for it, will you treuly realize that you are required to give no less effort to getting "it" than the next person. And for many of us, we often have to work 10x harder than the next person, just to receive the same results.
To truely understand the difference between wanting something and working hard for something, just think of a child (or teenager). It is incredibly easy to want, want and want everything that others have (both physically and materialistically). But when it comes to working hard for "it", one can quickly realize whether or not it is truely "worth it". If you want it bad enough, it is worth working hard for it.
Coming from an athlete's perspective, I think we would all agree that it takes a lot of hard work to reach our athletic goals. For without proper training, the body is not placed under the right types/forms of stimuli that is necessary for us to get stronger, faster and more powerful. Same with body composition changes...we all love our comfort zone and what makes us feel good. For it is the unknown that we fear. So while changing the diet may seem like hard work, if you truely want it bad enough, you will learn to appreciate the balanced and realistic changes that you are making in order to reach your ultimate goal. In more cases than not, those changes for the end goal become part of your lifestyle and never go away.
With both body training/exercise and nutritional goals, I think most people would put hard work and sacrifice in the same sentence. For if you are not making sacrifices you aren't working hard enough. Or the opposite, if you are working hard enough you will quickly recognize the sacrifices that you are making. But here lies the problem with so many people attempting to reach their goals. When it comes to achieving a goal, life shouldn't become mundane. Neglecting to give hard work to other important areas in your life, will often leave you wondering if this initial goal of yours is really worth it? Often, this is the point that many people give up. Life becomes imbalanced, excuses are made and goals begin to slip away as you search deep inside of yourself for the real reason why you wanted the goal in the first place. For it is rarely about the goal in and of itself but rather who you become throughout the journey.
More than anything, it is important to love what you do on a daily basis for you only have one shot at making the most out of your days here on earth. Sure, life presents challenges and requires a high level of commitment if you want to reach your goals, but you there needs to be some kind of enjoyment factor in what you view "hard work". If your "hard work" starts to get in the way of more important things in life, it is essential that you step away for a minute (or a day) and realize that that goal achievement is all about the journey. For it is the journey that makes the person something great.
If you are feeling run-down and tired and often find yourself emotionally unraveling by the second, redefine your goals. For hard work and sacrifice requires energy and a positive outlook on life. You must love what you do as you work toward your goal and recognize that it is in the process that you will really become someone that you never thought you could be in life.
It was 11 years ago that I called myself a College Freshman.AHHH, what to do with my life??? I thought medical school but I quickly realized that my love was for exercise. Fast forward 4 years, I became a University graduate (Transylvania University in Lexington, KY) with a Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science and a minor in Psychology. I somehow managed to divide my time between studies and swim practice, helping me earn honors as an All-American swimmer, being on the Dean's list and being the 2004 President of the Exercise Science Club.
Wanting to pursue higher education (for a career with Strength and Conditioning), I found myself with an assistantship/scholarship at Florida Atlantic University (Davie, FL). Missing my swimming teammates, I decided to train for a marathon while spending the rest of my time researching during the day and learning in Graduate classes at night. At the time, this was one of the most stressful and overwhelming periods of my life but somehow, I managed to finish for my first marathon and finish graduate school. I also squeezed in a few triathlons on my super cool Giant hybrid bicycle. Looking back (reflecting), it was in my last semester of graduate school that I took an elective undergraduate course on Nutrition. It was then that I really saw my love for nutrition and exercise begin to blossom.
With no money and a spare room in my parents new home in the Tampa Bay area, I took an internship at the World Triathlon Corporation (then in Tarpon Springs, now in Tampa) and it was there that I met Judy (from Iron Girl) who welcomed me into a whole new world of what it really means to be passionate about all things fitness. After the 6 month internship, I welcomed a year of work at the YMCA as a wellness coordinator, while teaching spin classes and personal training but desired more in my life. I also met my amazing husband Karel who taught me to get out of my routine and to not be so afraid of setting higher goals for myself.
There were many reasons behind the goal of becoming a Registered Dietitian but never did I think that it would be so challenging and difficult. From distance accredited classes, to local pre-req classes to then applying to internships. Errr, getting rejected from competitive internships. Two years later after starting my dietitic journey (and one Ironman finish in August 2009), I finally got accepted to Marywood University (distance dietetic internship program). I can't forget getting married and welcoming my furry best friend (Campy) into my life.
With three filled rotations (community, food service/management and clinical) squeezed into 10 months and over 1200 hours and my fourth Ironman finish (Sept 2010), I could see the finish line in reaching my goal of becoming a Registered Dietitian.
While spending the last two months, studying for the National RD exam, I had many opportunities to reflect on all of the many sacrifices I made in reaching my goals. I recognized my strengths in my passion (exercise) and focused on my weakness (medical nutrition therapy). I put in a lot of hard work over the past 11 years and with every accomplishment came a series of obstacles which were very difficult, stressful and overwhelming. It was never easy but I always searched for some type of joy/excitement to keep me going. For at times, training for an Ironman was my "stress-free time" and for other times, a walk with Campy after a 10 hour day at St. Vincent's Hospital was the most relaxing part of my day. But no matter what I was doing, I tried really hard to stay passionate about my goal and keep some type of balance in mind.
"Confidence is preparation. Everything else is beyond your control"
So....for the first time ever....
Marni Sumbal, MS, RD
Step #4 and #5 are currently in the works. As for Step #6, my list is long :)
To my blog readers: Thanks for your support and for believing in me.